Since my family travelled pretty much all summer, my boys suggested we color in a map to show the states we visited this year. I quickly formatted and printed this map only to discover confusion among my youngest. He was so concerned: where were Alaska and Hawaii? Since we hadn’t visited either of those states, I (lazily) left them off the map which ended up presenting us the perfect opportunity to explain a couple terms we hear referring to similar maps: The Lower 48 and Continental United States.
After a quick online search, we discovered several exciting facts: Did you know 48 contiguous states and D.C. occupy a combined area of more than 3 million square miles? And that when we refer to the “Lower 48” states, it can be confusing (or simply wrong, perhaps?) because Hawaii (not part of the “Lower 48”) is the most south state? And the Continental United States would technically include Alaska since it’s part of the North American continent.
Also, I enjoyed explaining to my boys about Washington, DC. Although it is not a state, our nation’s capital was originally formed from portions of land donated by Maryland and Virginia. Since Clint and I lived in Alexandria, Virginia before having children, I had a lot to share. We told them about our commute from Alexandria to Georgetown University–we would pass Arlington Cemetery, the Pentagon then over the Francis Scott Key Bridge to get to the University. We talked about hard working crew teams practicing on the Potomac River that divides Virginia and DC, the Cherry Blossoms and, of course, the crazy, unpredictable traffic. In fact, Bettijo and I met while we were living in DC area!
Your kids will lOVE to hear about all the places you’ve lived and visited with this map as a simple visual. Whether you use it to quiz your children on the 48 states, to locate where you live or to mark the places you’ve visited together, it’s sure to provide fun and education discussions!
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